What is happening to blogging?

Besides myself there are a lot of blogs that are in hibernation at this point. It seems strange but a diet of Twitter seems to have evaporated the desire to write. Taking the bit of thought of many people seems easier than spending time following someone’s complete train of thought on a subject. Are we becoming enamored by small bits of text in a quick series? This will date me but I remember the show Laugh-In. What made is so unique and unusual was the shortness of each film clip. It made a huge impact and had the effect that a one room TV scene became almost obsolete. MTV hit us with even shorter clips to  coincide with each drum beat of music. Now Twitter seems to be the snippet induced mind candy. Yesterday was my 3rd anniversary of Twittering and there has been a evolution in usage and acceptance. At the start was the challenge of how long it would continue, just like blogging and email. The answer probably will always be whatever technology or system we use will continue as long as it is relevant to those that use it. Maybe for some of us we just need to write more.

BarCampBankBC2

William, Tim and I had a conference call a few weeks back to discuss having another BarCampBank in B.C. Now when you are dealing with these two individuals you do not sit in the front seat, you sit in the back. They either do the driving or give the directions. Your job is just to make sure anything they have forgotten is mentioned or to jump in to volunteer to do something if it is something they can’t do. They really are two guys with extreme amounts of energy and vision. 

What will the next Canadian west coast BarCampBank hold? This will be my fifth BarCampBank and as all our totally different you can never know. You hope that there will be a few people who have never attended because the enthusiasm they show seems to drive a lot of the energy of the function. You hope that people come without any preconceived ideas about what will happen. You know that you will meet up with people who have read your blog or who are twittering who you have never met before. The key point is the people. Sure there is always what is discussed and what issues were raised but it is always the people who come to mind when you think about what has happened before. To me that is the strongest point of BarCampBanks. 

BCBBC2 is going to be different from all the rest. Above my desk at home is a picture of 6 gentleman from Texas sitting around a restaurant table. This is what I remember most about BarCampBankDallas last year. There are still 4 of them in Texas, one has moved to San Francisco, the other New York. I still hear regularly about events in their lives from their blogs or Twitter. Someday I hope to meet them all again. It really was the BarCampBank that created that connection. It is always an amazing experience when you think about it. Social media is what we all talk about but really the people behind the messages are what is important.

Cycles of confusion

With all the expertise out there attempting to making sense of what is happening in the economic realm we can now view the total diversity of opinions from the ‘experts’. Again this goes to show how difficult the problem is and any attempt to solve it will not be singular in any aspect. 

Did we get into this mess by over consumption? If so it will take longer than expected to change individuals daily habits and businesses that are visioned for unlimited growth. One of the best sources of information where I work is the discussions you are able to have with such a variety of people. Most are not overly optimistic about the future. They see an eventual change in the long term but are confused and apprehensive about the immediate future. There are just too many events that have taken place at an individual’s level to go unnoticed. These could be their neighbour loosing their job, cutback on hours for a friend, sales of a home at a level that was not realized or even the recent increase in the price of food. There hasn’t been anything that is concretely positive to change this mindset.

How long will these cycles of confusion last? Who really knows. Spring and good weather always tend to get us moving again and out of our hibernation mode. But if there is one sentiment that appears at every occasion it is caution. People are just more cautious when they make economic decisions. That may be a bold step for some but it is also long overdue. Caution and common sense were not the norms before.

Another BarCampBankBC advertisement

Tim and William have done recent posts about BarCampBankBC which amply speak of what it is about. I can only repeat what they have already said.

This will be my 4th BarCampBank and one that hopefully will start “to foster innovations and the creation of new business models in the world of banking and finance.” in our geographic area and beyond. This direction is long overdue.

I have repeated numerous times that the ability and opportunity for financial institutions to create new products and services has never been better. All of the building blocks are there. The only hampering item is ourselves. We have created structures that make it difficult to foster innovation. We fail to keep our eyes focused on the end event and get caught up in the mundane and minuscule processes. Yes the devil is in the details but that should not be the excuse to limit our ability to be creative. This event is going to have some very interesting people attending. There are a few that I don’t see listed that will also be mentioned.

• Tim McAlpine – the creative genius of Currency Marketing.

• William Azaroff – the man behind Change Everything at Vancity.

• Morriss Partee – the New Englander whose CU Everything is a wealth of knowledge for CUs.

• Nala Henkel – another smart cookie from Currency

• Nancy Zimmerman – one of the most energetic and outspoken bankers I know, and she has heart.

• Stephen Akhurst – a very intelligent Central 1 consultant, he puts together the Innovation Awards for CUs in BC.

• Denise Wymore- Watch out when she starts talking about her pet peeves.

• Matt Vance – who wouldn’t like anyone from Bellingham?

• Boris Mann – the Drupal guy who makes things happen.

• Tripp Johnson – don’t know Trip but know about the Gonzo Banker people.

• Wendy Lachance – Coast Capital’s mobile expert.

• Kate Dugas – the other half of Change Everything at Vancity.

• Andy LaFlamme – another New Englander whose points of view are articulate and insightful. (Don’t get him and Morriss together for a Guitar Hero event!)

• Brent Dixon – one of the most creative people I know of.

• Dana Dekker – he was the force behind MACUs success.

• Roland Tanglao – if you want to know anything about mobile phones ask Roland.

• Caleb Chang – Caleb wears Hawaiian shirts on Monday, need I say more?

• David Drucker – a GUI expert and an ex-Bostoner (Bostonite? some one help me here).

• Laurel McJannet – she is from Verity which says it all.

• Mark Sadowski – Anyone from New Mexico has to be mentioned.

• Jeffry Pilcher – if you want to talk to Jeffry make sure all your ducks are in a row.

Who is missing? Ron Shevlin, Charlie Trotter, anyone from the Garland Group, Christian Mullins, anyone from Indianna or the Carolinas and a number of others.

Seriously if you haven’t attended a BarCampBank before this is your chance. You will not regret it. Don’t let the $35 registration fee paint it as a non-event. You will come away with some truly invaluable insights you won’t find anywhere else. It is an international event.

Why I love Twitter

Morriss recently wrote about the 4 stages of Twitter which was as close as it gets to emulating the stages of experience with this product. I hadn’t realized how long I had been on it and then thought about why, after e-mail, it is the one thing that is always checked.

At first it seemed that the community that would built up around Twitter, with you deciding who to follow and who is following you, would be limited. How many of your face-to-face friends would actually use it tended to be few if any and wasn’t everyone on Facebook anyway. But a community did build and it reached beyond any geographic location that you could imagine. Now you can see people responding to each other were you know you were the conduit in getting them followed or following each other. How many people have you interacted with because of someone else’s introduction to that individual?

There also seems to be a grouping of like minds. I have never asked or heard of anyone’s political persuasion, not that it would matter. There is not much knowledge about age or generation. In fact unless the person blogs and has posted the link you really don’t know much about them. Some post frequently, others rarely. There is a link or a connection to each person that proves to be different with each post. There is a unique insight when someone updates you on what is taking place in their life or their thoughts at that specific instant. There seems to be a common bond that is unexplainable. That unknown connection is why I love Twitter. It is an amazing way to communicate with some amazing people.

At the same time I am always somewhat hesitant on what to post. When compared to what some post, mine seem like drivel. Once in a while you can contribute which is satisfying. But one also needs to say what one doesn’t like. I really don’t like it when someone posts 6 or more times, right in a row. Thankfully everyone has a specific icon so when that starts you can quickly pass through the stream. It is also hard to follow a thread of thought when someone posts a short cryptic message to some unknown @person. If it sounds interesting you can click on @person and hope there is something there to understand. There is tinypaste if you want to go beyond 140 characters but it is rarely used.

Finally it is great to hear what music someone is listening to or where they are but I really don’t want to know that you have arrived at Starbuck’s and are having a double non-fat latté. Sorry but I don’t drink coffee and it irks me that I can’t be sitting across from you with a tea.

Apple WDC and our choices

The first day is over and the news is out. New iPhone, .Mac changing to .Me and Snow Leopard Server. Again Apple pushes product and updates its technology to higher levels but this time there is something different.

Apple seems to be directing its eyes to the business sector. Sure the iPhone was launched at consumers but the tools and processes shown are a fair indication that Apple is looking at expanding into the non-consumer area. With what was stated today why wouldn’t any business who has some development budget and has been working on the Mac platform not get excited? There are some great possibilities of using these tools to create some unique and interesting products and arrive at answering some old questions.

The key understanding is that the iPhone is a computer in your pocket. So what would you think 5 or 10 years ago about having that much IT power sitting in your glove compartment? With the wireless availability becoming common place there is now an immediate means to communicate and transmit data. Viewing this from a historic timeline we used to wait until the punch cards were run for the printed work, then it became the waiting for the system to come up before we could use the terminal, our desktop computers were the biggest step in having data and applications available on a desk, then the laptops arrived and we could carry them anywhere and now that same power sits in your pocket and is usable anytime.

Any information or data that you can push or pull can be viewed and worked on. Any place. What will that mean to businesses and to us an individuals remains to be seen. One of the programs mentioned today will give you the geographic location, via GPS, of anyone with an iPhone. You will get a choice if you want that information about you available but if you do then you might not have to answer the cell phone from your spouse asking you were you are. A small point but it is significant. You no longer have to tell people where you are, they will have the means to know where you are.

The questions will be asked will it save time, the precious and finite commodity we all treasure. Maybe, maybe not. But it will change the way we view events, processes and what we have been used to in so many unseen ways. Again technology has an offering that we can either use or it can ‘use’ us. We can either be bombarded by vast amounts of useless information or we can filter and broaden our knowledge with needful and proper information. It all ends in one simple but powerful characteristic, individually we choose for ourselves with our own free will what we will do with this technology.

Expectations and realities of BarCamps

Yesterday Tim, William and I had a conference call about the upcoming BCBBC. During the conversation we talked about the Seattle Bar Camp Bank and how we viewed it. It was interesting to hear that we all wanted to repeat Seattle’s success by having something similar.

But are BarCampBanks always similar? The format and the way the event is held is unique and it contributes a lot to its success. No one owns the agenda. You vote with your feet. Sessions can continue until everyone says its over. Discussion, dialogue and conversation are great ways to communicate, debates aren’t. Relationships have already been created through Internet means (blogs and Twitter). Meeting people face to face after you have know them online is a phenonemal experience. Venues can add to the flavour of the event. It is a time of incubating ideas. It is the Olympics of conferences. No talking heads telling you what you already now. Inexpensive. Unbelievable value. The points are numerous and everyone who attends can give numerous examples as to why they will attend again.

But each one that I have attended is unique. And I keep trying to nail down what makes it so. There is a climate of networking and relationships that form at these meetings based on the individuals present. The BarCampBanks are made up of such a wide range of characters that they can’t be the same just by the fact of who attends. Maybe it is because we don’t really have such a strong expectation of what will come from the event. We already know that will happen. The expectation is the excitement of the discussions, the passion shown by everyone, the energy in just being in a room with such remarkable people. We thought we came seeking a holy grail but found that each of us had the capacity to create something unique in our relationships and our being together for this short time. The time you have is limited and you want to make the most of it.

BarCamps cannot really be explained. You could add numerous paragraphs to the above and still just touch on what they are. You have to be there and experience a BarCamp to understand fully what it is. With everyone being different you realize it really is the people that are important here. The focus is us. And that is so different from those expensive, boring, talking head, self-appointed expert sessions we have all fallen asleep at.

You can do anything you want with your data but…

There is this continuing discussion about the portability of data and letting people take their data and their friends with them to other sites. We have a number of social networks that don’t allow us to ‘move’. This is proving frustrating because as new and better networks arrive we seem to be collectively stuck and harnessed to the old because the basis of use doesn’t allow us to easily move.There has been some movement here in the DataPortability group and Google’s OpenSocial. Let’s hope it continues and once again allows us the users the choice. Walled gardens don’t work for us but they do become very profitable for the gardener.Here is a transcript of Sir Tim Berners-Lee as he talks about the Semantic Web. Sir Tim brings back those fond memories of using Mosaic 15 years ago.Transcript: Sir Tim Berners-Lee Talks with Talis about the Semantic Web: “”

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Some final thoughts on Northern Voice 2008

This has been the 4th year I have attended this conference and there is a difference on how I feel about this one as compared to the others. This time a number of the faces were familiar so in some ways you took the time to “catch up” with what has been happening in so many of these peoples lives. The names are too numerous to mention but you always recognize the faces. Flickr has over 3,000 photographs of the event! If you aren’t in that photostream it is because you weren’t there.

The conference is always remembered by the people who attend it. They really make what it has become. Everyone is pretty comfortable discussing all aspects of the digital world we live in. The conversations can become pretty intense. Maybe that’s why when its over everyone’s brain is very tired. It is that intenseness and passion for the subject that is so rewarding. You give as much as you can and you end up getting back more.

I keep my notes of the conference in my Moleskine. This year I have 19 pages of words, ideas, URLs, and miscellany. Those notes will be key in today’s reflection of what is happening on the Internet. There will be a few more blogs subscribed to from the people you have met, a few that you will read more often and probably a few more readers of your own blog. The social fabric continues to get woven.

We all tend to want to measure things in terms of success (it was a successful event). I have never thought NV as a success. It is more a happening, an idea exchange, a period of incubation of thoughts and words. By attending you are propelled into a different realm that everyone who participates understands by experiencing it. It isn’t something you can necessarily write about or listen to. You have to experience what took place. And experiences are made with people. We are social animals. We like to be with others to share, understand and have a venue to express what we think and believe. And that is what Northern Voice does.

Our national anthem has a phrase “the truth north strong and free”. I sense that in a fashion at NV. The strength is from who we are, the free is our ability to express it. Thanks to everyone who was there.

Social Bookmarking and the dilemma of choice

At the recent Northern Voice conference Alan Levine made a presentation of WordPress Web sites that don’t look at all like a WordPress blog. Jim Groom also had a presentation about this. Alan had a tag on del.icio.us that he used to keep track of these sites and suggested anyone use it if they also found examples. There were a few people that mentioned work they had done in this area, Alan hit the sites, tagged them, and the source of the information was complete. It was the first time I had seen that happen at a public session.Wikipedia has an interesting introduction on social bookmarking that deserves reading. The article mentions other sites including Simpy and Ma.gnolia. There are a vast variety of features in them all but it brings up the Twitter vs Pownce debate again. Trey twittered William’s quote this morning — community beats cool. With the plethora of web apps available does one choose to use something because it works, works better, has more features or there are more people using it?I would like to use Pownce but there are so few of us there that everyone has drifted back to Twitter. (Flock does a decent but not perfect job of helping one keep informed about the feeds.) So community has outweighed function with that choice. One of the problems we all face is filtering. There are volumes of information pushed out onto the web daily that make it impossible to keep up with. Here again the ‘wisdom of crowds’ comes into play. The use a common social bookmarking service could filter and highlight for all of us those areas of interest. I would love to have an RSS feed of informative bookmarks suggested by friends and peers on a daily basis. It can only add to keeping current on so many important subjects. But again who does one pick? De.licio.us, Ma.gnolia, Simpy or ??

The first day of Northern Voice 2008 = MooseCamp

The first day of NV08 was pretty good. Of course there were sessions you couldn’t get to but there certainly was enough to keep you busy.

The Enterprise Social session had a good attendance and talked about wikis in the enterprise and how to successfully grow and use them. One aspect of wikis which was noted again and again was that search of all kinds sucks. But the biggest question was how do you get people to use these tools? What exactly hinders their use? It was interesting to note that the successful use of a wiki in an enterprise situation was conditioned on both the top and the grassroots contributing and there had to be a balance of both. It wasn’t like it would take hold just because it was introduced.

Citizen Journalism was interesting but it was also a presentation by CBC. The ‘motherhood’ culture predominated. Sure you can send stories and news to them but they will control the content. I don’t think they get it. By it’s nature citizen journalism uses the ‘openness’ of the web as one of its strongest points. To have it funneled and used by a large public media outlet takes away that strength. It was interesting to see how the CBC have now silently changed into beginning to understand what is happening. A few years ago blogging and alternative sources of news were largely ignored and discounted. But the giant will move slowly.

Photocamp was great. Lots of discussion around light.

WordPress and your problems was everyone moving into specific groups with resident experts leading the discussions and helping everyone with their questions. Jim Groom led our small group with some amazing information about plug-ins and presentation schemes.

Alan Levine had a session ‘More Than Cat Diaries’ that showed some web sites that don’t look like blogs but are running on blog software. The tag ‘notcatdiaries‘ on del.icio.us gives numerous examples.

That was it. Voxant was buying the beers and handing out T-shirts at the local bar so a bunch of us headed over there and continued discussing the day’s event. By the end of the day my brain hurt. And now we move into the second day.

The ongoing saga of Twitter and Pownce

Once upon a time in the land of virtual worlds there lived a little service called Twitter. He (ok it could be she) had a great idea about sending messages to friends. So he released his idea and low and behold it became popular. It worked and people loved it. All was well as groups of friends shared in a fashion they hadn’t thought possible before. Communities formed and relationships built and all was well.

Then came along another little service called Pownce (let us say Pownce is she for the sake of equal gender participation). Pownce loved Twitter but felt hampered at times, and so her idea was released and low and behold it became popular. Friends found out about here, told others, and now the groups started forming. But wait something unforeseen happened.

How could these established groups maintain contact using one or the other? The discussions began. People changed from T to P and then back again from P to T. Groups all over the place were stating similar things. All the twitterers and powncers were amiss. What would happen? Would the grey knights Googley and MicroHard do something?

We can’t say everyone lived happily ever after. We do know that things change. Everybody is still here. The relationships between people in the groups haven’t changed, just the means of communicating. Twitter and Pownce continue to develop because both can see they have to. The real beauty of this is us. We, by using whatever platform we choose, are influencing what in the end will be a changed platform. Will someone be able to develop the DIY concept in microblogging, that is create one area of all my friends but choose the features I want to use with friends, groups or the public timeline? And that has been the neatest things about this episode. We are watching it unfold as well as being part of it.

Consumer posting

Jon Derum has an interesting post on his blog about giving people the ability to post comments on ‘blog bars’ (computer terminals at places of business). We really haven’t seen much of an evolution of this idea. We have a Mac setup at the end of the wickets where anyone can sit down to use it to have Internet access. When people know about it they sometimes use it. Some use it on a regular basis, others don’t bother. It does seem to be an issue of time though. People come in to do their ‘banking’ and are prone to move on once the task is completed. They don’t necessarily come to have access to the Internet or to the point made, spend the time to post a comment.

What is very interesting is to see how this ‘service’ will evolve. Will the ubiquitous iPhone/iTouch change when and how we will comment? Will free community wi-fi sites change usage? What happens when ATM’s become web based? Something is going to change, that is for certain.

For the lack of a word does the idea get misunderstood?

It seems we are brushing against new realms, new ideas and the fallout, new ways to do things. And yet we use old words and concepts to try to make some meaning for ourselves in these new realms. Those involved in blogging and twittering are sometimes at a loss explaining this new realm because how do you explain something so new that never stops changing.

I recently used the word ‘geekoid’ to explain how a program automatically setup a recorded TV show’s mpeg for streaming with a new http address. ‘Geek’ because it is using technology at the edge in a unique fashion and ‘oid’ because it sounds cool and as a suffix it means to form an adjective/noun with the sense of having the form or appearance of something related but not identical. It suggests that it is a cool use of technology but using TV technology that isn’t the same as we are used to. The program is Elgato’s EyeTV and its wi-fi access preference.

The word micro-blogging has appeared a few time recently to describe what twitter does. Users of twitter had just been calling it twittering, everybody who used this means to communicate easily understanding what it means. Micro-blogging seems to limit what it means.

One of the more interesting concepts is what credit unions do which is offering banking services. Who would understand them as offering credit unioning services? Our quest to make meaning of the new and redefining the old goes on. What seems to be taking shape with twittering is the quick sharing of concepts and ideas, off the cuff remarks that stick and begin to be used again and again until they find some small fashion of usage.

We as English users have a rich heritage of words to use, in fact probably more than most languages. But with 26 letters the capacity of understanding exactly what we say seems limited at times. I would suspect the challenge for bloggers/twitterers is to mold and message our communication not for the coolest of words but for the most understandable language. We shouldn’t be afraid to create something new or reuse words. We should not be persons of indolence.

Facebook and Twitter and what a pundit said

With Microsoft’s getting a piece of Facebook there is a lot of discussion about what this means. Charlene Li at Forrester Research says “Facebook really represents the new computing platform for this new age of computing and I think any social application that is written in the future is going to have to take into account the Facebook model”. So what exactly is Charlene saying here?

Is Facebook a “new computing platform for this new age of computing”? I hadn’t thought of it as that. It seemed to be a different interface that quickly allowed a connection to a number of people, already registered with the product, who I knew. It compacted a lot of information because the screen fonts though small where readable. And it had a lot of choice on how it would look and how it would work. Is it a new computing platform? No. It is just a nicely designed product that caught a wave of popularity and with this momentum has a large base of users that made it more relevant than other social networking systems. I wouldn’t call it a new computing platform, just a better refinement of how others could enhance your platform for you.

If you use Twitter and Facebook consider this question. What do you find easier to use, what do you use more, what defines social networking in your mind – Twitter or Facebook? Or are there other “new computing platforms” that ring truer to your sense of social networking?

Social networking, just by it’s name, is difficult to describe. It is 90% human communication and 10% technology ( I’ll leave you to adjust the percentages). Do I really care what the screen looks like as long as the result is what one feels comfortable with when using it? If it works, then it is used. If it doesn’t work for you for whatever reason you won’t use it. Twitter works. It connects me in real time to some of the most interesting people I know. It is simple. It is intriguing. Facebook does this in a different fashion, in a slower fashion, much more historic with social aspects defined by the various applications you choose. What it does for me is not the same as what Twitter does. Why? Because it only augments or tries to emulate what I as a person already experience daily in my non-computer life. When I sit across from someone and communicate I am experiencing who I am in the real human setting. This is reality. And all the factors and inputs that I have learned since birth are at work listening and communicating with this person. What they are saying, how they are saying it, what their body movement is, how their hands are moving, everything all your senses offer to establish human contact. Is this the same experience as Twitter or Facebook? No and it never can be. They are only partial facilities in our human connections. They work to a certain point. I think the best part of social networking is when you finally get to meet all these neat people in person. Knowing and realizing that event will someday happen makes these virtual places pretty amazing.

Boy did we have fun yesterday

It started out with a bad weather forecast for our area. They had been talking about this Pacific storm coming in with rain and high winds from the south west. That usually means a lot of water. In B.C. and the Pacific Northwest you have a number of definitions for rain. Some of them are: Looks a little gray, drizzle, showers, intermittent showers, rain, it’s pouring, it’s coming down.…..you can gauge how bad it is by how someone defines the rain. Yesterday we were all waiting for it to pour.

We got everything ready and then the members came. We had over 180 people come to our celebration of International Credit Union Day. That represents about 10% of our membership. In fact we ran out of hamburgers and had to head up and get more. We put together a video on YouTube so you can see some of what happened.

Every year, after its over, you sit back and wonder how it went. This year was pretty special. We purposely asked the members what they liked about the credit union and what they wanted changed. We took a video of it all and last night when I was editing the clips it struck me. We are doing a good job but we never really ask and hear directly from the members. This ia a real testimony that all the staff can see. Members really do like us. There is a community and social aspect of who we are. There are a few clips that I will put together for a future download. The one with Earl Lehman speaks of being an owner. It is one we need to watch occasionally. It’s a good reminder.

Our first YouTube posting and Happy Credit Union Day!

Yesterday we let Kelly the videocam girl loose on all the staff in the building. We needed to have a trial run of the camcorder as well as some experience on downloading the scenes and putting something together. It went exceptionally well. The quick interviews, the great responses, and the ease of putting it all together was a surprise. Even if it isn’t that professional it gets the message out very quickly of just who this credit union is from the employees side. Tomorrow we will be doing the same thing from the member’s side.

Doing this puts any business in a very interesting position. The tools to show who exactly you are, what exactly you do and who is involved in your business are available to anyone that wants to use them. The cost is nothing. The outreach is global. This internet that we all seem to be more and more part of is bringing new ideas, new ways of doing things into our homes and work places. When one is able to read comments, blogs and twitters of individuals in geographic locations that you can only dream of visiting it still creates in me a sense of awe and amazement.

So what is stopping individuals and credit unions from capturing and using these various means? I have updated my business formula as to why some don’t use social media, so here is is:

Ignorance + Fear = Control

Those that are hesitant seem to lack the ability to give up this control function that has become so prevalent. They do not understand transparency. They are afraid of it. If they can’t control it they can’t see what it would benefit them. The saddest part is that they don’t realize that the world as they know it changed on them and those old rules don’t work to any great extent any longer.
My circle of associates and friends would be so much less by holding back. How would I have heard “On a Freezing Chicago Street” by Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s if Matt hadn’t twittered about Margot and iTunes hadn’t been invented to be able to buy it? Everyone has these internet events that occur again and again. They are in a sense that small human part of us that we get to share.

Our first YouTube posting was really about us stepping out to share a small story. Our blog is up and running. It’s scary but you know it feel’s pretty good. Shari is right. Happy International Credit Union Day everyone!

Web 2.0 sites that are fast becoming known by daily usage

There are a number of sites that I use like applications on a daily basis. Listed below are some most known and maybe, just maybe, a few that aren’t.

flickr – this is the picture mecca. If you upgrade you can download everything you every take with a digital camera. And the best part is the Contacts and Groups areas that you manage. Upgrading to the Pro account is well worth it.

Twitter – the Mac has a neat program Twitterific which makes twittering easy. When you get used to it, and you have to because you will initially discount it as a useless program, you can see what it is all about especially if you attend a conference with others of like minds.

Facebook – not much to say here as the main media has been pounding out information. You need to manage exactly what you want to use this interface for. One of the things that to me is amazing is the ability to quickly send a video on the wall. You can save a ton of time videoing instead of writing.

Jott – this is something I use all the time. Walking, driving or whenever you don’t have a pen or paper, send yourself a quick note (usually via cell phone). Sure you can get the audio message but it also is transcribed into text where it can be forwarded into an email or text message.

YouTube – who doesn’t know this one but again they have the facility for you to record and send a video to a specific person. Some may not have a Facebook account.

Linkedin – professional networking. It goes beyond Facebook in that it has a business focus.

tinyurl – change those long and cryptic URLs into something manageable. Simple and effective.

Simpy – the social bookmarking service. It is simple, works great and keeps bookmarks in one space. It has features galore.

WordPress – the most enjoyable blogging site. The more you spend time with this the better you like it. And if you can host WordPress on your own site it will take you days to get through all the themes and widgets offered.

I am sure some sites have been missed. But think about this – would you have thought any of this was possible 5 or 10 years ago?

Bacn (electronic)

I came across this word in Wikipedia. It is the term given to electronic messages which are not spam but are often unread. They state that bacn is email you want but not right now. This started me thinking about how much material other than emails is marked for future reading especially websites and blogs. Those blog entries that are marked for future reading could be called ‘progs’ – postponed readable blogs. Websites are either bookmarks or del.icio.us tags. (I use del.icio.us but would rather use simpy). The easiest is to use the tagging engine of your choice.
So why do we collect so much information for future digestion? It is easy to gather so much verbiage. In a matter of minutes your collection of articles that are specific to your interest are there and the means to prepare this future reading material is possible. The ease to be able to do this was simply not possible a few years ago. (Someone mentioned to me that a family member of theirs still prints every web page off they want to read and has massive paper files for their special interests!) The neat thing about this is that when you get back to reading this suitcase of words it starts you thinking in a focussed manner. The grey matter is really working hard with such a variety of viewpoints. And you can’t find that stimulus anywhere else. These thoughts and ideas are coming directly from the writer without the filtering of any editor or publisher. It’s like getting a mailbox of letters from around the world, everyday.

So bacn is good, spam is not. One is edible pork, the other is a supposed edible pork product. Funny how pig parts have solicited these types of meaning. Oink on!

What seems to be happening with our knowledge

The book Everything is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger is terribly intriguing. He states that our knowledge of the world has assumed the shape of a tree because that knowledge has been shackled to the physical. He repeats this notion numerous times in cataloguing information onto atoms. [putting the catalogue on index cards] With information being digitized, which allows us to go beyond the physical means, the shape of our knowledge is changing. Note he doesn’t say our knowledge is changing, just the shape of it.

There seems to be a pre-occupation with the notion of singleness [each-only-one-what] when dealing with knowledge in tree shapes. He gives us the following embedded assumptions that are so deep in our tradition of thought that they look like common sense.

  1. A well-constructed tree gives each thing a place. If too many items haven’t a place our miscellaenous category begins.
  2. Each thing gets only one place. Listing something more than once is confusing. Where should it go?
  3. No one category should be too big or small. This really points to an inadequacy in the method, not the knowledge.
  4. It should be obvious what the defning principle of each category is. Exactness, precision.

So where does that leave us? We are still trying to bridge the old model of viewing information with the attempt of trying new ways. We continue to grasp our “belief in the efficiency of rationality“. When one uses the word belief in these terms it becomes dogma and whoa to those who don’t follow that dogma. Dogmas with data are dangerous.

Some new ways – wikis, metadata, tags, facetted classification systems. We need to begin to use these new tools in our look for answers when faced with the magnitude of information we see daily. It’s hard to grasp sometimes and move away from paper and atoms. Paper has its place but when you can choose to store, sort and read it digitally vs the older way which really is the easiest?

Miscellaneous Infant Toys 3302.jpg (JPEG Image, 640x480 pixels)